27th October 2014

Higher Education Development & Alumni: Talent – Here today, gone tomorrow

The Higher Education Development & Alumni profession in the UK is growing.  Not only that, the sector is at a major crossroads when it comes to creating a vision for the workforce in relation to hiring, developing and retaining talent. Compared to the other global markets such as the United States, the profession is still young.  The sector is however maturing, and with the skills, expertise and knowledge within the UK at the highest it has ever been. This is evidenced by the major income growth recently achieved by many of the leading HE institutions.  This is however in the context of the limited talent that already exists, and even high profile institutions have already experienced difficulties when recruiting certain key roles.  We need alternative means of sourcing individuals in the sector, including graduate programmes at the entry point, creating a clear and attractive ‘career choice’, through to the more senior end and bringing talented people in from outside, particularly from the non-profit and private sectors, both in the UK and further afield. Although there is a challenge in tapping into this potential talent pool, it is almost limitless.  It will however take us time and investment to tackle this, […]
9th September 2014

The Higher Education challenge: Finding talent in a rapidly expanding market

I recently attended the ‘CASE Europe Annual Conference 2014’ in Edinburgh, which took place over three days. The Conference attracted senior professionals across the fields of development, alumni relations, marketing and communications within Higher Education, both from the UK and Europe.  These conferences provide a unique opportunity for professionals within HE, and those who support the sector, to build on their HE knowledge.  Also to meet, network and share ideas.  There were various sessions discussing ideas from principal gifts fundraising through to alumni engagement. However the topic that came up time and time again, both from sessions and through conversations I had with senior leaders, was the issue of sector growth and the need, and indeed the challenge, of attracting talented and experienced development professionals to their organisations. For development teams to be able to increase their income sufficiently in coming years, in order to meet the sector’s ambitious income goals, the workforce needs to at least double.  The key issue is that the demand for experienced professionals, does and will continue to outstrip supply unless we think differently.  Traditionally, I have found that, the HE sector has been generally closed to seeking talent from outside HE, and thus the […]
11th August 2014

A Not for Profit Chief Executive’s guide to writing a CV

To begin with, a disclaimer – CVs come in a multitude of different styles and formats, and what works for one person, may not for another. So please take this advice as a starting point, as opposed to a “must-follow” list. However, during my time in three different executive search consultancies, the broad template I describe below has seemed to stand candidates in good stead, and helped consultants like myself to more easily assess an individual’s fit with a role. When I began thinking about writing this blog, I did stop and think, what advice would I give to Chief Executives that wouldn’t apply to any other job hunter? And I think that most of what I am about to write definitely applies to anyone looking for their next role. BUT… While each Chief Executive role is different, depending on the sort of work the not for profit organisation undertakes and its size and scale; there are some core skills which are likely to be needed by all charity Chief Executives and which need clearly highlighting within your CV. Included in these are: outstanding leadership – the ability to deliver high levels of performance across an organisation; exceptional people management […]
6th August 2014

Life on the Other Side – A Consultant’s Perspective

Recently, on the 24th July, I spent the day at Newham council, shadowing Graeme Betts, Executive Director of Health and Partnerships to find out what life was really like ‘on the other side’. I was excited to have the opportunity to meet Heads of Service, Directors and the Chief Officer of Newham CCG to find out what they really did each day, so I could better understand what my Clients and Candidates need. I wanted to find out – what are the challenges of working in Newham, reported to be the second most deprived council in the whole of the UK, with the youngest average population and what skills do you need to succeed as a senior manager? Surprisingly, the general consensus was that Newham is not a ‘harder’ place to work, although the challenges are certainly different to those in more affluent boroughs. There is a saying within the council that once you have worked in Newham, you can work anywhere, as the range and scale of social care issues are far more wide reaching than almost anywhere else you may choose to work.  As ever, the challenges with recruitment and retention of staff was a consistent theme with […]
7th July 2014

How much time should a Trustee give to their Board?

If you are invited to join a Board as a volunteer Trustee it can be easy to believe that being present and using your skills and experience to pitch in on discussions that interest you is enough. They are lucky to have you and you are volunteering your valuable free time after all. Right? No no no!! That statement can only be correct if you are happy to join an organisation that lacks aspiration and you are content to be a part of what is likely to be a poor performing Board. Like so much in life, if it is worth doing it is worth doing well, and putting time and commitment into your role as a Trustee is so much more rewarding than never truly engaging with the Trustee role and aspirations of the organisation. Working at a high-level takes discipline and time. In April McKinsey published some research that suggested that very high-impact corporate Boards spend about 40 days a year working on the full range of issues, while low or moderate impact Boards dedicated about 19 days on their work per year. Interestingly, both types of Boards only spent 4 days per year each on core governance […]
21st May 2014

How do we attract and retain social workers?

The Guardian Social Lives research 2014 surveyed hundreds of social workers to explore what employers could do to attract and retain them. This research concluded that good social workers are hard to find, with 69% of Managers saying it is difficult to find qualified and experienced social workers and only 57% saying it is easy to retain them. So how can Local Authorities attract good social workers? 59% of social workers cited location as important to them when choosing an employer as they want to give something back to their community. Korrine Williams, Social Worker, felt this was very important, as her strongest motivator was achieving a positive outcome for her clients, rather than an overwhelming commitment to her employer. 21% of social workers felt that their salary was an important factor in their decision making when choosing an employer – this is a 14% increase on the findings in 2008 and goes a long way to explaining why so many social workers are leaving the permanent roles and moving into agency work, with the associated higher rates of pay. 21% of the workers surveyed felt that the reputation or image of their employer was an influencing factor for them. […]
14th May 2014

What is the public perception of social work?

The Guardian Social Lives research 2014 surveyed hundreds of social workers this year to explore how happy they were in their work. This research found that 90% of social workers feel undervalued by society. 85% said negative press makes their jobs harder to do and only 3% felt that Social Work has a positive public image. So what can be done to turn this around? The way social work is perceived through the media and by the public in general is the key to improving social workers satisfaction and recently there has been a move in the right direction. Jo Cleary, Chair of the Board, The College of Social Work commented that after the serious case review of Daniel Pelka was published, there was a shift in the perception of social workers in that they do genuinely care and that their work is extremely complex, involving lots of professionals. Unfortunately, this very complexity is the reason that social work is not generally viewed positively in the media, as the tabloids are not geared towards deciphering the intricacies of the many professionals involved in each case. Korrine Williams, Social Worker, felt that there was no doubt that her clients were influenced […]
9th May 2014

Social workers – are they happy?

I joined the Guardian for a panel debate at the launch of their Social Lives Research, in association with Cafcass. The panel consisted of: Jabbar Sardar, HR Director, Cafcass Jim Campbell, PHD, Professor of social work, Goldsmiths University Jo Cleary, Chair of the Board, The College of Social Work Korrine Williams, Social Worker, formerly London Borough of Lambeth, now Agency worker Hundreds of social workers were surveyed this year to explore how happy they were in their work. The first round of research was conducted 6 years ago, in 2008, and this was an opportunity to gain insight into how recent changes have impacted on social workers. Are they Happy? The majority of social workers (63%) said they were happy, but they are less happy than they were 6 years ago (a drop of 19%). 85% felt they were trapped by excessive red tape (an increase of 39%) and 83% felt they did not have enough time to give their cases enough attention (an increase of 17%). The research demonstrates that, clearly, social workers are not driven by financial rewards but their earning potential is important as many are leaving their permanent posts and moving into agency work, which offers […]